Suggestions for Music While Studying



If you’re anything like me, you have trouble focusing on your schoolwork. I love what I study, but even when I’m interested in a particular reading or research topic I’m working on, I feel like the dog from Up. It doesn’t take much to completely throw me off track and focused on something completely unrelated to my upcoming deadlines. I often see people in Milne library (where I maybe spend too much time) wearing headphones, presumably listening to music. When I was a young naive freshman who knew I needed to study more but didn’t know how, I tried listening to music myself, but it didn’t really work. I was too distracted by the music itself to even understand what I was reading. For a while, I thought I required complete silence in order to get my work done. I discovered slowly that some types of music actually helped me get in the zone. It was something else for my brain to work on, so I’m not distracted by other random thoughts, but it’s not too much to be overwhelming. I find the music that works best does not have lyrics, and is usually pretty minimalist. While dramatic classical scores are beautiful and lyricless, they’re still too much for my brain. Here are my playlist suggestions for anyone struggling to find the perfect study music. One last note to end this long and rambly introduction: all these playlists can be found on Spotify. 


1) “Dreamy Vibes” 


This premade playlist of mostly electronic music (but not the kind you’d hear at European nightclubs) is the kind of minimalist and repetitive music I need. It is over 6 hours long, meaning it should get you through some pretty lengthy study sessions. The music is minimalist enough though, that I don’t even notice when it begins to repeat. 


2) “Indie folk for focus” 


One generally wouldn’t think of indie folk as a good study genre, but this playlist proves that wrong. This playlist probably has the least minimalist songs, and might not be the place to start if you are new to listening to music while you study. Personally, I find this playlist to be a refreshing break from the more electronic music I usually listen to. 


3) “Lo-fi beats” 


This is definitely one of my favorite premade spotify playlists. The music in this playlist samples elements from jazz and hip-hop and while there are some spoken words in some of the songs, these parts are usually short and the words tend to be something encouraging. 


4) “lofi/chillhop/vaporwave study playlist” 


This playlist was actually made by yours truly (it can be found on my Spotify profile which is “sydjulien”). This playlist is a mix of a lot of different playlists I liked from similar genres. I took a lot from the previous playlist I suggested but also added songs from other similar Spotify playlists I like, from youtube playlists I like and from the artists I tend to prefer. 


5) “Night Rain” 


This one isn’t even music. This playlist is literally just recorded rain sounds. I like this one because it’s kind of calming in a weird way. Spotify has a number of other playlists that are literally just noise (notably “white noise” and “nature sounds”) but I found the rain to be the best for focus because it was the most steady. 


6) “Christmas Peaceful Piano”


Ok… you might not want to listen to this one until November. You might not want to listen to this one at all if you don’t celebrate Christmas. This playlist is made up of instrumental Christmas songs. Since the melodies were all so familiar, I didn’t find the more elaborate melodies to be too distracting. Either way, these instrumental versions are pretty lowkey and they helped me feel at least a little festive during a particularly tough finals week last year. 


7)  “Lava Lamp” 


I found this playlist to be particularly soothing, it’s a little less jazzy than the lo-fi beats, but some songs are still similar. It’s mostly soft but repetitive beats with some very ethereal sounds mixed in. This playlist is also super long (almost 8 hours!) so it’s sure to get you through some pretty long study sessions. 


Hopefully some of these lists help you have a productive semester!